Read Luke 1:11-12 "There appeared to him an angel...Zechariah was troubled when he saw him." (see Luke 1:11-12)
Did your family have a Nativity scene in the front yard, under your tree, or on a table? I remember staring at the angel wondering what it will be like to see one of these beautiful creatures face-to-face.
As Luke continues his account of the first Christmas, Zechariah the priest is in the temple. He's laying the incense on the altar. Suddenly, through the clouds of smoke, an angel of the Lord appears. But for Zechariah it isn't the wonderful, thrilling scene I imagined-not at all. The aged priest is struck with terror, shaken to the core.
As the Christmas story unfolds, we'll see angels appear to Mary and to the shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And both will have this same reaction: one of being instantly filled with terror. You and I would be too.
No matter how good a person you are, coming face-to-face with the holiness of an angel shows you your failings, and fills you with dread and fear. How much more terrifying will it be to look into God's face when He comes with His angels in great power and glory to judge us on the Last Day?
That's one of the truly wonderful things about Christmas. The promised Savior did not come as a fearsome, mighty warrior to strike fear and terror into each of us. Instead, He came as a tiny Baby lying in a manger. He didn't come to terrify us; He came to take away our sin and guilt and assure us of God's love and forgiveness.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to live among us and save us by Your perfect life, Your innocent suffering and death, and Your glorious resurrection. Calm my heart when I'm gripped with fear, and fill me with peace and joy. Amen.
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